In response to a memo from the Secretary of Defense on January 28th, the Under Secretary of Defense Clifford Stanley issued a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal implementation plan last Friday. This plan became public yesterday when it was included in a memo from the Under Secretary to military officials. The plan walks through the major events and key tasks that must take place in each phase of implementation. It addresses policy implementation, training and education of the force, and internal and external communications necessary during each phase.
The first progress update on repeal implementation is due to the Under Secretary by March 1. In the meantime, the Under Secretary states that military leaders “will work together to solidify the format of progress updates as well as the frequency of leadership meetings.” The progress updates will include, at minimum, information on units trained, personnel trained, status of updated regulations, and other preparation activities as required.
Notably, the plan does not require all service members to be trained and educated on repeal prior to final repeal. Instead, repeal can occur as soon as training and education of service members begins and a plan for completion is in place. That said, the plan requires that military experts, such as judge advocates and military equal opportunity advisors, and military leaders, such as commanding officers and civilian supervisors, are fully trained and educated prior to final repeal.
The repeal implementation plan also requires the military to engage stakeholders, such as advocacy organizations, during the pre-repeal phase – the current phase of the plan. In addition, it acknowledges that congressional hearings on implementation may begin during the certification process. Finally, it recognizes that it the military may need to continue to tweak their policies regarding lesbian and gay service members following implementation, as well as revise education and training programs for sustained education and training efforts.